What is the difference between .BAT and .EXE files?

Last updated on August 19, 2021 by , Posted to developer tools

batch file vs executable

Batch files are simply text files or small scripts that can be executed by the command line processor - "command.com", they were widely used in the DOS environment to automate common tasks. With the release of Windows, "cmd.exe" is responsible for executing batch files. The command syntax has been greatly expanded. With this in mind, batch files can be classified as interpreted programming languages.

EXE files are different from BAT files since they contain executable binary data rather than plain text commands. They are stored in the Portable Executable (PE) format. The EXE file format includes various headers and sections that tell Windows how to run a program. Some portions of an EXE file may contain program code while others may contain resource data.

Do not directly compare the size of the batch file and the executable file, since the machine code for all batch file commands is contained in the "cmd.exe" file. You can open the Windows folder on the disk and check the size of that file. This means that after compiling the script the executable file cannot be smaller.

What are the disadvantages of converting bat to exe?

  • After compilation, the batch script becomes a binary file, so you can no longer use any text from it. For example, you cannot use the "type %0" command to display the source of a batch script.
  • All batch scripts are executed in the same system process "cmd.exe", so they can exchange environment variables. Each EXE file is executed in a separate system process and such exchange is not allowed. Only the return code can be used.
  • The compiled file can be 32-bit or 64-bit, while the batch file is platform-independent.

What are the advantages of converting bat to exe?

  • Most often the script is compiled to hide the source data, which may contain the username and password of the administrator. After compilation it will be impossible to see them.
  • Depending on the compiler, the script execution speed may increase significantly.
  • Usually compilers add new features, such as an extended command set, silent installation, and packing additional data into a single file.

What tool is used to compile batch scripts?

One of the first compilers for batch files was the Quick Batch File Compiler. We spent a long time collecting user feedback and incorporating new features into the compiler. Many of these features have been copied by our competitors, but we are still one step ahead.

batch file compiler

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